Review: Kickapoo Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido Cooperative (Viroqua, Wisconsin)

Kickapoo Coffee is another award-winning roaster featured in my most recent shipment from Craft Coffee. Like many roasters, their standard size is 12 oz, but instead of using bags, Kickapoo ships in cans. I did not receive a can since I got the sampler bag from Craft, but it looks like it would be a nice reusable vessel.

Kickapoo

In a way, I think it’s good I didn’t get a can, because my mind immediately drifted to this can in my fridge. I know they don’t really look alike, but I couldn’t stop thinking about hummus when I saw the Kickapoo can.

tahini

Sorry for drifting off topic! Back to coffee…

This particular Ethiopian bean is an heirloom variety, and the beans are smaller than typically seen. In addition, I think that the beans are possibly denser, because my usual grind settings are much too fine for these beans in a pourover setup – I only had 4 oz of beans to play with and I didn’t quite dial in the setting properly for either the V60 or Chemex methods, so I don’t think I achieved the full flavor potential of these beans.

Whole bean: A little nutty, with a bright berry scent – strawberry?

V60: I needed a slightly coarser grind because my (already coarser than usual) setting led to a 3:40 extraction time. The result was slightly bitter, but also had a buttery, juicy flavor with honey notes. The aroma was slightly like burnt toast or matches. Wish I could have tried again.

AeroPress: The concentrate was much too tangy and bright (and thick!) to drink straight. After I added some water, the dominant flavor was of strawberry-rhubarb pie. This particular cup seemed to flatten out in flavor as it cooled and the interesting flavors sort of faded so that it resulted in just a “nice” cup of coffee without much discernible personality.

Chemex: I guessed wrong here too on the grind, and I only got 530 grams of water in at the 4:00 minute mark (instead of my usual 700 grams of water), so I halted the brewing at that point rather than letting the coffee get overextracted. This cup was a bit sour, but there was a marshmallow scent and flavor to this cup along with bright strawberry.

French press: Best of the lot, with a great balance of butter, berry, and toast. I would definitely drink this again.

After I finished this tasting and sat down to start this review, I found that this particular varietal scored a whopping 94 points on Coffee Review in 2013. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know that in advance, but now I’m extra mad that I didn’t get the grind settings right! I find it interesting that Craft Coffee’s tasting notes didn’t really match up with Kickapoo’s, but we all taste different things! Craft says: “Nutty cashew flavor complements the subtle acidity of dried apricot and rhubarb,” while Kickapoo talks about flowers, cherry, and lemon. I got toast, butter, and strawberry. Are we drinking the same coffee?

Summary: I liked this best in the french press, but I would need another go at brewing this to see what the full potential is like in the pourover methods. You may need to coarsen up your grind a bit when brewing African heirloom varietals as pourover coffees.

From the roaster: Classic aromatics of spring flowers and tart cherry give way to a round, honeyed body and a clean, sparkling finish. Notes of spring flowers, red cherry, and lemon zest.

Kickapoo Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.